SQ event brings diversity to forefront

Screen Queensland’s (SQ) upcoming 2019 signature event R.I.D.E. will
be a full day of expert panels, special guests and lively discussion, focusing
on diversity in the film and TV sector.

SQ will be presenting this major annual event as part of the official
program for the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) as the festival’s founding
and principal sponsor.

SQ’s Acting CEO Jo Dillon said that presenting the event in association
with BIFF is the perfect opportunity to engage industry and the broader
community in robust conversations about the lack of diversity in the screen sector.

“BIFF is one of Queensland’s most
highly anticipated screen festivals, bringing us together to celebrate cinema
from our own backyard and the other side of the world.

“It is the perfect setting for our event and its discussions on the big
issues that lie ahead for our sector and our community – and how we can rise to
meet them together,” said Ms Dillon.

“This is a chance for screen storytellers to work together to ensure
that the industry properly represents and includes culturally and
linguistically diverse, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, disabled,
LGBTQI+ and women on screen and behind the camera.”

The jam-packed program will engage 18 top industry experts across five
industry panels, with a keynote from TV presenter, acclaimed speaker and
Paralympic swimmer Karni Liddell.

One of the R.I.D.E. panellists includes Queensland-based writer-director
Loani Arman, who created the award-winning six-part web series The Mother
Load.

“Australia has one of the most culturally diverse populations in the
world, and that’s not being reflected enough on our screens,” said Ms Arman.

“R.I.D.E. is more than just an opportunity for the film community to
discuss diversity – It’s a call to action, that we need to do
more to support and create content that is inclusive.”

In
addition to local industry experts, the forum will also include interstate
practitioners such as screenwriters Stuart Page (The Secret Daughter,
Cleverman, Wentworth, Total Control) and Mithila Gupta (Five Bedrooms,
Doctor Doctor, Home and Away and Winners and Losers).

Ms Gupta was
responsible for introducing an Indian family to the regular cast of Neighbours
in 2010, causing major headlines in Australia and internationally, and
adding diversity to a regular cast that has been predominantly white since the
show first aired in 1985.

“I believe authentic diversity starts on the page,”
said Ms Gupta.

“This doesn’t mean sticking ‘diverse’ people in the
background; it means giving all people the privilege of a point of view and of
being the main players.”

BIFF Artistic Director Amanda Slack-Smith said she
was delighted to have the event as part of the official festival program, which
spans 11 days of films, talks and industry events.

“Diversity in the creative sector is pivotal to moving forward and to
have such knowledgeable speakers and discussions happening in the one place is
powerful.

“This is a must attend event.” Said Ms Slack-Smith.

R.I.D.E, standing for Respect, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality, will be held
10 October 9am through to 5pm at the State Library of Queensland. Admission is
$25 and includes morning tea, lunch, networking, drinks and canapés. Full program details and tickets are available
online at https://biff.com.au/event/making-film-screen-queensland-ride/

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